Grains of Sand Like Mountains

za 29.06 30.06 / 11:00 – 18:00

● tentoonstelling

Locatie: Kunsthal Gent, Lange Steenstraat 14, Gent

Tickets: pay what you can

Alice Diop, Nous © Sarah Blum, 2020

Grains of Sand Like Mountains is a group exhibition and a public programme curated by the Curatorial Studies class of 2023-2024. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from a poem by the artist Renée Lorie in the framework of her new photographic project Shelter (2024), which explores the conflicting feelings of belonging and loneliness she encountered on the Shetland Islands.

Taking our own experiences in curating this show together as a starting point, we raise questions about how multiple ‘I’s’ can work, live, belong and organise as an ‘us’. Collectivity, however, is multi-layered and complex; it can manifest as celebration, play, debate or assembly.

Within a few years, challenges of pandemic restrictions and isolation have moved to confronting and unsettling realities of enduring conflicts. Terms like confinement and ceasefire have become integral parts of lives. In reaction to this perpetual state of uncertainty, some ritual practices resurface while others take on new dimensions: from gathering around a table to embracing a moment of celebration, finding solace in grief, and assembling in protest.

The exhibition unfolds through a constellation of works including video, sculptures, photography, and performances, exploring how we can live together within diverse societal contexts. Manifestations of collectivity can take various forms, from the forced gathering of undocumented workers in Brussels, as witnessed by Ben de Raes in Waiting Working Hours (2019), to the elusive orality of folk culture in Brittany portrayed through Seulgi Lee’s video ÎLES AUX FEMMES (2019).

Grains of Sand Like Mountains is approached as an archipelago, allowing the encounter of collective practices within intersecting cultures. This is made tangible in the ceremonial gathering within the Palestinian community depicted in the video work Out of Joint (2018) by Noor Abed, as well as in Micheline Nahra’s sculptural work Dinner for One (2019) in which she portrays the lasting effects of war, displacement, and solitude in Lebanon.

Furthermore, alternative perspectives on the discourse surrounding shared and mixed-up heritages are explored by Nina Jayasuriya in magē gear magē pansala (2023), while Hussein Shikha looks into the symbolism and history of motifs within Southern Iraqi carpet traditions in his video installation GARDEN_OF_EDEN.ISO (2023). Finally, touching on the notions of gender, genderlessness and personas, Stef Van Looveren’s film Radical Hope (2018) looks into different stages of life, all linked to emotions of sadness, anger, desire, happiness, resentment and terror, where at the end, individuals merge into one.

Public programme

Accompanied by an extensive public programme, this exhibition also considers the audience as partaking in a reflective communal experience. The programme will feature a workshop by Disarming Design for Palestine, a film screening of Nous (2020) by Alice Diop and a collective dinner during which the CS participants will reflect on the collaborative curatorial approaches and processes that took place while organising this exhibition, such as collective choices or negotiations, challenged assumptions, prompted growth and personal reflections among us.

Satellite project

Playing with the notion of relationality, a satellite project unfolds at Het Paviljoen, extending its reach beyond the walls of Kunsthal Gent and allowing for multiple spatial trajectories. While forming a cross-over between both spaces, Seppe-Hazel Laeremans looks into the deconstruction and reconstruction of hegemonic visual language through a collective performative reading session, which will lead to a walking tour between Kunsthal Gent and Het Paviljoen. Finally, reinforcing the notion of collaboration, we join forces with Café Palestine and Splinter v.z.w. to co-host an event by the art collective Common Ground that invites us, in a contemplative manner, to gather and join in the timeless ritual of preparing a traditional Palestinian dish.


The exhibition starts on the ground floor with works by Seppe-Hazel Laeremans and Disarming Design, and will mainly unfold through the first floor. Kunsthal Gent is wheelchair accessible via the ramp at the entrance, but it is important to note that the first floor is only accessible by stairs and a bridge through the hall of the building. A video of the exhibition upstairs will be available to watch on the ground floor.

  • An exhibition curated by Curatorial Studies Class of 2023-2024: Ipek Aytekin, Sina Eden, Max Ferguson, Ismini Kyritsis, Martina Lattuca, Manon Laverdure, Justine Mckenna, Karel Op ‘t Eynde, Emidio Ranieri Tomeo, Hugo Roger, Paula Swinnen, Camille Van Meenen, Lisa Verhaeghe
  • Special thanks to Laura Herman, Valentijn Goethals, Isabel Van Bos, Sonia D’Alto, Marijke Van Eeckhaut, Galerie Jousse Entreprise, argos centre for audiovisual arts, Totem Films, Kunsthal Gent Team, Design Museum Gent, S.M.A.K., Ghent University, KASK & Conservatorium.